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Healthcare staff must properly introduce themselves to patients

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f5833 (Published 02 October 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5833
  1. Kate Granger, elderly medicine registrar and cancer patient, Yorkshire
  1. kategranger{at}doctors.org.uk

After some staff didn’t introduce themselves to her, the doctor turned patient Kate Granger launched her #hellomynameis Twitter campaign, which has struck a chord. It’s so much more than just good manners

I am lying on a trolley in the emergency department feeling extremely unwell. My temperature is 39°C and my pulse 150 beats per minute. It is about 36 hours since I underwent a routine extra-anatomic stent exchange, and I have developed sepsis. A young surgical doctor clerks me in. He does not introduce himself by name, instead plumping for “I’m one of the doctors.” A nurse comes to administer my intravenous antibiotics. She does not introduce herself at all.

Over the five day admission I lost count of the number of times I have to ask staff members for their names. It feels awkward and wrong. Introducing yourself is the first basic step taught in any clinical interaction for any healthcare professional, but do we ever stop and think about how important this is? As the patient you are in an incredibly vulnerable position. The healthcare team knows so much personal information about you, yet you know next to nothing about them. This results in a very one …

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